Quick Hits on J.D. Martinez

J.D. Martinez! It finally happened! The Red Sox signed Martinez to a five-year, $110 million contract, and all of a sudden the offense — and offseason — looks a lot different. The contract is front-loaded and comes with two opt-out clauses in the first three years. Considering Martinez was reportedly originally asking for seven-year deals far north of $110 million, the end result looks pretty good for the Red Sox. Even if Martinez never actually expected to get that long of a deal, the terms feel surprisingly team-friendly. In the next coming days, there will be plenty written here about Martinez the ripple effects. For now, some quick thoughts, because it’s 12:30 AM:

Martinez is obviously the best power hitter on the Red Sox right now. He slashed .303/.376/.690 last year with 45 home runs.  Of all MLB hitters with at least 400 plate appearances, no one had a higher slugging percentage than Martinez (.690). His Isolated Power (.370) last year was almost 200 points higher than the league average (.171). Over the past four years, he’s posted wRC+’s of 154, 136, 141, and 166. He makes hard contact at a rate that’s close to double the league average without sacrificing his OBP in the process. The great DH-by-committee experiment of 2017 is officially over. He’s the real deal:

Sure, there are some health concerns. He’s only reached 600 PAs once in his seven-year career and has missed at least 40 games in three of his past four seasons. His age doesn’t exactly instill much confidence either, as power hitters typically don’t age spectacularly. It should be noted, though, that Martinez’s power developed much later on than most, and he’s actually been more consistently healthy over the last four years than he was the three years prior. He’s also going to be playing the outfield significantly less often now than he was in Detroit or Arizona, mitigating the likelihood of an injury there.

Hanley Ramirez probably isn’t thrilled. Ramirez needs 497 plate appearances to vest the 2019 option and cash in on a cool 22 million guaranteed dollars. Skill-wise, he’s been a platoon guy for the last couple years, but now the ABs are going to reflect that. While I am certainly here for Hanley Ramirez, pinch-hitting hero, I have my doubts that Hanley is too.

J.D. Martinez is on the Red Sox. People thought it was going to happen in November and then December and then January and now here we are. It happened. Never has something so predictable felt like such a fun surprise. This offseason was so dumb.

Photo by Mark J. Rebilas — USA TODAY Sports

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